We have now the means of answering the following questions: What became of each of these two so unequal divisions of this expatriated people? What has been the respective destiny of each? How are they now represented? The answer involves results so extraordinary, at first sight so incredible, and in effect, even when thoroughly examined, so difficult of satisfactory explanation, that we have devoted much time and labor to the critical revision of the materials whence our conclusions are drawn before venturing to place them on record.
This is the answer: The 500,000 shipped for North America have increased nearly ninefold, being represented in 1860 by a population exceeding 4,400,000, while the 15,000,000 sent to the West Indian colonies and to Southern America have diminished from age to age until they are represented now by less than half their original number. a
How marvelous, beyond all human preconception, are these results! Had the 15,000,000 whose lot was cast in the southern portion of our hemisphere increased in the same proportion as the 500,000 who were carried to its northern continent, their descendants, instead of dwindling to half, would have been to-day a multitude numbering more than 130,000,000 of men.
What is the explanation of this startling marvel? Is it to be found solely in the greater humanity with which the negroes of the United States have been treated as compared with those of other slave countries?
A little research will show us that there were other causes in operation to produce these strange results-causes chiefly due to the fact that the slave-trade to the United States was brief in its duration and unimportant in its operations compared to the slave-trade to the West Indies and South America.
But wherever the operations of the slave-trade are of great magnitude the effect is to check the natural increase of the slave population on plantations.
In the first place, it introduces an unnatural element into that population which it is proper here to set forth; and to this element a portion of the decrease in the negro population of the countries to which our estimates extend is indisputably to be ascribed.
The abnormality referred to is the uniform practice of dealers, in selecting cargoes of negroes on the African coast, to purchase a considerably larger proportion of males than females. All the witnesses agree in the fact, though they differ as to the motive. Some testify that it was more difficult to procure salable women than men, ascribing
a Those who may be tempted to object to this latter calculation, as based in part on approximating estimates, would do well to bear in mind that it is fully borne out by another calculation, already given (pp.79, 80, 81 [309, 310], ante), and which is based upon official tables alone-a calculation covering a period of seventy-four years in the last century and extending to the entire negro population of the largest English West India colony, Jamaica; throughout these seventy-four years the results, in condenses view, being as follows:
Negroes in Jamaica in 1702............................. 41,596
Negroes imported from 1702 to 1775............. 497,736
Deduct exported from 1702 to 1775.............. 137,014
Leaving in the island imported slaves.................. 360,722
Total in 1775, if the population had been stationary... 402,318
But the actual population in 1775 was 192,787, showing a reduction in three-quarters of a century in the negro population of Jamaica of more than one-half.